Basil of Caesarea: Share my distress

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Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

“It is your lot to share my distress, and to do battle on my behalf. Herein is proof of your manliness. God, who ordains our lives, grants to those who are capable of sustaining great fights greater opportunity of winning renown. You truly have risked your own life as a test of your valour in your friend’s behalf, like gold in the furnace. I pray God that other men may be made better; that you may remain what you are, and that you will not cease to find fault with me, as you do, and to charge me with not writing often to you, as a wrong on my part which does you very great injury. This is an accusation only made by a friend. Persist in demanding the payment of such debts. I am not so very unreasonable in paying the claims of affection.”

Basil of Caesarea (330-379) in Letter CCIX in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids: CCEL) 705. I want to explore the idea of sharing in one of my favorite early church fathers, Basil the Great, for a while. Enjoy the journey with me.

Today, We find his letter to an unnamed close friend. This is someone who risked his life for him, someone who held Basil accountable to write often, to work together to help each other, to make each other better. And he called such interaction, payment of a debt.

I want to honor Chi-Chung Keung today. He’s shared my distress. He’s my accountability partners. He reaches out to me. Like Basil, I don’t reply often enough. He’s a friend, who loves at all times and yet who interacts with me to make me better. I am thankful for him.

Do you have such a person in your life? Someone who finds fault with you, not to tear you down but to build you up. It requires humility and vulnerability, traits that have not always been strong in me. Find such a person. Let him or her help you grow in generosity as well as other aspects of life.